Because of the continuing flow of detailed and timely information out of Iran, it is possible both to overcome the regime’s attempts at dispersion, camouflage, and deception and—if that should become necessary—to target air strikes accurately enough to delay Iran’s manufacture of nuclear weapons very considerably. At the same time, there is no reason to attack prematurely, because there will be ample time to do so before it is too late—that is, before enough fissile material has been produced for one bomb.
And that brings us back to the beginning. What gives great significance to the factor of time is the advanced stage of the regime’s degeneration. High oil prices and the handouts they fund now help to sustain the regime—but then it might last even without them, simply because of the power of any dictatorship undefeated in war. There is thus no indication that the regime will fall before it acquires nuclear weapons. Yet, because there is still time, it is not irresponsible to hope that it will.
By the same token, however, it is irresponsible to argue for coexistence with a future nuclear-armed Iran on the basis of a shared faith in mutual deterrence. How indeed could deterrence work against those who believe in the return of the twelfth imam and the end of life on earth, and who additionally believe that this redeemer may be forced to reveal himself by provoking a nuclear catastrophe?
But it is not necessary to raise such questions in order to reject coexistence with a nuclear Iran under its present leaders. As of now, in early 2006, with American and allied ground and air forces deployed on both sides of Iran in Afghanistan and Iraq, with powerful U.S. naval forces at sea to its south, with their own armed forces in shambles and no nuclear weapons, the rulers of Iran are openly financing, arming, training, and inciting anti-American terrorist organizations and militias at large. Under very thin cover, they are doing the same thing within neighboring Iraq, where they pursue a logic of their own by helping Sunni insurgents who kill Shiites, as well as rival Shiite militias that fight one another.
If this is what Iran’s extremist rulers are doing now even without the shield of nuclear weapons to protect them, what would they do if they had it? Even more aggression is the only reasonable answer, beginning with the subversion of the Arabian oil dynasties, where very conveniently there are Shiite minorities to be mobilized.
These, then, are the clear boundaries of prudent action in response to Iran’s vast, costly, and most dangerous nuclear program. No premature and therefore unnecessary attack is warranted while there is still time to wait in assured safety for a better solution. But also and equally, Iran under its present rulers cannot be allowed finally to acquire nuclear weapons—for these would not guarantee stability by mutual deterrence but would instead threaten us with uncontrollable perils.
Adéu a Nihil Obstat | Hola a The Catalan AnalystDesprés de 13 anys d'escriure en aquest bloc pràcticament sense interrumpció, avui el dono per clausurat. Això no vol dir que m'hagi jubilat de la xarxa, sinó que he passat el relleu a un altra bloc que segueix la mateixa línia del Nihil Obstat. Es tracta del bloc The Catalan Analyst i del compte de Twitter del mateix nom: @CatalanAnalyst Us recomano que els seguiu.
Moltes gràcies a tots per haver-me seguit amb tanta fidelitat durant tots aquests anys.
dimecres, 26 d’abril de 2006
Tres raons per no bombardejar encara l'Iran
Les exposa EDWARD N. LUTTWAK en l'avanç de l article Three Reasons Not To Bomb Iran—Yet que publicarà el mes de maig la revista COMMENTARY.
Publicado por NO a les 9:57 p. m.